Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,842 / Hamilton

Posted by shuchi on November 4th, 2011


I generally have mixed feelings about Hamilton’s puzzles and this was no different. I like the conversational surface of some clues like 21A, 15D, 19D but wasn’t too happy with a few others (details below).

My solving was slow today largely due to not knowing the local details (geography, slang, etc.) referenced in some of the clues. Wikipedia has been a friend in need.


1 NEARBY NIMBY (local protestor) – I’M + EAR (attention). Nimby is an acronym for “not in my back yard”, the term used pejoratively to describe a person who opposes new development in the .
4 PLEACH PREACH (lecture), with R changed to L.
8 YOGHURT initial letters of ‘You Only Got’ HURT (upset)
9 COMPLEX dd; the first definition refers to the type Freud-Jung dabbled in.
11 TENANTLESS (LET NAN)* in TESS (Hardy girl). A couple of problems with this clue: the container isn’t fairly indicated and the definition points to a noun, but the answer is an adjective.
12 ROOT sounds like ROUTE (the way)
13 BISON BIN (wine container) around SO (thus)?
16 REQUESTS QU (question) E (European), in RESTS (intervals)
18 SEBUM hidden in ‘gooSEBUMps’
20 OKRA O (old), ARK (boat) reversed. Also called lady’s fingers.
21 BOTTICELLI (ITLL BE OCT)* I. Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance.
23 FOLKIES FOLKS (family) around IE (that’s). Another name for folk musicians. My last answer in. I was thrown off the scent by the strange order of the container components and indicator.
24 CLOTHES cd. They may come after bed in “bedclothes”, and clothes get pressed i.e. ironed. // Update: Also, “before the press” = clothespress. Thanks scchua.
25 NUDITY Except that the word ‘clothes’ has to be fit into the clue, this is a straight definition; the exclamation mark is unnecessary.
26 UDDERS JUDDERS (shakes) – J (Jack). The word ‘judders’ is new to me. The dictionary lists it as chiefly British, a blend of jolt + shudder.


1 NIOBE NI (Ulster, another name for North Ireland) OBE (honour). Niobe is a female character in Greek mythology who was turned into stone.
2 ASHRAMS ASS (animal) around (HARM)*. Not convinced about ‘suffers’ as anagram indicator before the fodder.
5 LYONS LYON (French city) S (special). J. Lyons & Co. was a chain of British tea shops, founded in 1887.
7 HIEROGRAM HERO (male lead) around I (one), GRAM (little weight). A hierogram is a sacred symbol, like the Christian cross.
10 NECESSITY dd, taking ‘fundamental’ as a noun.
13 BREAKDOWN triple definition? ‘Analysis’ and ‘separation’ fit well, but ‘out of order’ doesn’t  grammatically equal ‘breakdown’. Or is it BREAK (separation) + DOWN (out of order), with ‘is’ as padding?
15 INSTILLED IN (popular) ED (journalist), around STILL (quiet) 17 UNASKED UNMASKED (revealed) – M (Mike, from the phonetic alphabet)
19 BREATHE WREATHE (crown) with W (white) changed to B (black)
21 BRENT A place in north London which gets its name from Celtic words meaning “high place”. A GK-based straight definition. // Update: Gaufrid points out that this is a double def. clue: BRENT is a Scottish word meaning ‘lofty’ according to Chambers.
22 LEEDS I could find references to Leeds manorial borough of the pre-industrial Revolution era. How does “Sheffield’s finest back” work? Help invited.LEETS a reversal of STEEL, Sheffield Steel being regarded as the finest of its type. LEET is a special court presided by the lords of certain manors in olden times. Thanks for all the helpful comments.

Noticed the Nina after posting the blog (thanks to Pelham Barton’s comment#9 ),  and it has raised my appreciation of the puzzle :). The unchecked letters on the perimeter of the grid, starting at the top-left and moving clockwise, read:


18 Responses to “Financial Times 13,842 / Hamilton”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Shuchi
    You were presented with a difficult one today!

    21dn is a double def. as BRENT is a Scottish word meaning ‘lofty’ according to Chambers.

    22dn is LEETS. Sheffield is/was known for the quality of its steel cutlery.

  2. anax says:

    It’s a slightly obscure one at 22d Shuchi – the answer is LEETS (old manorial courts), a reversal of STEEL (Sheffield Steel being regarded as the finest of its type).

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks shuchi, and Hamilton for an enjoyable puzzle.

    24A CLOTHES: I think there is another reference here: “before the press” = clothespress.

    25A NUDITY rather than NUDISM as you have.

    21D BRENT: I thought “lofty” refered to the BRENT (goose), which flies during its southward migration for the winter.

    22D LEETS: rather than LEEDS. “Sheffield” is known for the steel of the same name produced there, and “back” indicates a reversal. LEET is a special court presided by the lords of certain manors in olden times.

  4. scchua says:

    Sorry, Gaufrid and anax, we crossed.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks shuchi for the blog. I have similar misgivings to you about many of these clues.

    13dn: I took it as BREAK + DOWN.

    22dn: I think this is LEETS: Chambers (1998) gives leet² (hist) a court-leet, and then court-leet (hist) a court of record held in a manor before the lord or his steward. The wordplay is then STEEL (“Sheffield’s finest”) reversed. I guessed this from the wordplay and have looked it up for my comment.

    25ac: This needs to be NUDITY to fit with 21dn. I agree that the exclamation mark is unnecessary. We may note that this crossword is not actually billed as cryptic.

    15dn: This seems to have slipped into the acrosses in your blog.

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    … and I seem to have crossed with everyone else.

  7. r. Vijayaraghavan says:

    25 across should be ‘nudity’

  8. Steve says:

    In New Zealand they call speed humps “judder bars”.

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    I have just had another look at the grid, and note that the unchecked letters in the left and right hand columns are respectively anagrams of FORTY and SIXTY. That cannot be a coincidence.

    Incidentally, I think 21ac is (ITLL BE OCT)* + I, with the final I not part of the anagram.

  10. Rishi says:

    I got the bottom right first and then the top left. I must confess that I did not go on to complete the puzzle as I had to go out of home. (So the difficult clues remained unsolved.) The small type used for clues and the hazy clue numbers in the grid are not too user-friendly for sustained solving, else I might have taken the printout with me.

    Now that I have read your blog and the Comments, it might be interesting to note that the first clue that I solved was 25a NUDITY, even before solving 24 (which was my second and where I did not miss ‘clothespress’ that scchua notes above). The mere definition was enough for UDDERS, the word ‘judders’ coming to my mind an instant later. Qn: Is the wordplay – that ‘udders’ becomes ‘judders’ when J is added at the front – properly indicated in the clue?

    We do get 8ac YOGHURT. But how can we know where the ‘initial letters’ stop before the next component (HURT) in the charade comes?

    Re 11a TENANTLESS: I too had the same doubt that you had but ‘rental’ can mean ‘something rented or hired’ (Chambers).

  11. Rishi says:


    Than you for the clarification on 21a BOTTICELLI. I must say I didn’t notice it. Often I can solve an anagram by just staring at the letters but the type size here being so small I wrote the letters ITLL BE OCT on paper when the artist’s name flashed in my mind. So didn’t bother about the final I. The clue could do without the exclamation mark, I think.

  12. Pelham Barton says:

    Rishi @10: I manage to print out the crossword to fill an A4 sheet – my version of IE gives the option “Fit to Printable Area”. Not sure if that will be of any help to you.

    8ac: Deciding how to split the clue into its components seems part of the normal solving process to me.

    26ac: This seems fair to me. It is “the shakes” (JUDDERS) “before Jack goes” (remove the J).

  13. Rishi says:


    I share your reservations about the word order in the container/content clues 13a (which I got) and 23a FOLKIES (unsolved by me, though I was aware of the term itself). I was thinking of KIN before I went away.

    I am aware of the kind of trick employed here (where the c/c ind. is placed not quite in its place) but I feel that somehow that ploy doesn’t come out quite well in the present instances. It would be interesting to know what others think. BTW, you didn’t record the false (but legit.) capitalisation in 13a.

  14. Rishi says:


    Thanks for your clarification on [j]UDDERS. Yes, it’s perfect. The fault was in me as I was looking at it from a different perspective.

  15. shuchi says:

    Thanks for all your comments and clarifications. Even if I had more time for the puzzle I probably wouldn’t have got LEETS.

    Thanks especially to Pelham Barton @ #9 – I had missed the Nina completely!


    25A: NUDISM was my initial answer in the grid which I corrected to NUDITY when BRENT would not fit. Missed changing it in the blog, sorry about that.

    Blog updated.

  16. Pelham Barton says:

    shuchi @15: So in fact there was a bit of coincidence in what I had spotted. I was using the “[si]XTY IS” to get the SIXTY. Thanks for drawing attention to the rest of it.

  17. Hamilton says:

    Thanks for the blog shuchi, and thanks to all correspondents, but especially Pelham Barton – I began to think the nina was going unnoticed! Despite the fact that I qualified for my bus pass last Sunday, I shall raise a glass to you all tonight.

  18. Neo says:

    Very many happy returns to you, m’colleague – tip-top puzz too!

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